President Cyril Ramaphosa has reiterated his top priorities at this stage of his presidency, promoting his "new dawn", and how he plans to bring it to fruition, in his customary broad strokes to another group of stakeholders.
Ramaphosa's focus has not shifted from the promises he made during his state of the nation address earlier this year — he has restated his commitment to clean governance, land reform, economic development, job creation and the rooting out of corruption in the private and public sector.
He was speaking to members of the business sector during a public engagement in Sandton on Thursday evening.
#Ramaphosa Youth Employment is top of mind in all that we do. The YES project targeted at bringing work experience to 1 million young people. When young people get exposed to the world of work, they are more likely to find jobs— African National Congress (@MYANC) May 31, 2018
Corruption and clean governance
Ramaphosa repeated his promise to take a firm stance against corruption, admitting that the ANC had learnt from its mistakes in North West — which until recently remained under the premiership of Supra Mahumapelo, against whom various allegations of corruption are reportedly being investigated.
"How we deal with corruption will define this new dawn," the president stressed. "The new dawn must mean that we must be seen to be very serious about dealing with corruption — it must no longer [only] come from our mouths... we are now going to deal with corruption, we are going to be firm, and we are going to make sure we root out corruption from the face of South Africa.
"What happened in North West really gave us the biggest and the loudest wake-up call. We've identified those failures; we are going to work extremely hard to ensure our local government serves the interests of our people. The lessons we are drawing from North West are going to help us to see how we can have an early monitoring system, so that we are aware at an early stage of some of the things that may be going wrong."
#Ramaphosa We will be entering BRICS with a lot of confidence and determination and focus on our country and continent's interest. Our foreign policy is rooted on human rights and it is underpinned by our position on the African continent. We are an African country.— African National Congress (@MYANC) May 31, 2018
He described state-owned enterprises (SOEs) as having been "sewers of corruption" when he inherited them.
"They were like where the sanitation had clogged up. There was rot, there was filth... we are rooting all that out right now. We have hit the ground running... by making sure we have proper procedures, good people who are going to run them — and we have set up the presidential SOE council." Government was taking these measures, he added, because SOEs comprise almost 30 percent of our economy.
Ramaphosa claimed again that land expropriation without compensation could "add an injection into the growth of the economy".
"I believe the land in our country, having been held by a minority, has been land that has not been put to good use. We now have a great opportunity to put land to good use. We want to be able to release land near our cities ... so that [people] can live closer to where they work," he said.
"We are going to be focusing also on the agrarian revolution. We are going to embark on a massive project of ensuring that we produce our own food, and put our people back to work in the rural areas," he promised.